AMD’s “New” Graphics Cards
AMD has lifted NDA's on some of their Radeon Rx 2xx card line-up. Unfortunately, the top-end monsters Radeon R9 290 and Radeon R9 290X are not included in this reveal. That leaves only GPUs we have already seen in HD 7000 series, but with some additions and lower price, just like Nvidia's GTX 770.
R9 280X is the new name for HD 7970 GHz Edition, with $299 MSRP.
R9 270X is HD 7870 GHz Edition with a small overclock, $199 for 2 GB version, $229 for 4 GB version.
R7 260X is the HD 7790 with new True Audio features enabled for $139. It is different from other Rx 2xx series cards, as its GPU uses a newer version of GCN architecture.
R7 250 is HD 7730 with slightly faster memory for $89.
As far as new features go, AMD has made some additions to the boards itself to improve features. While the multi-monitor Eyefinity support has been present since HD 5000 series, it was limited to DisplayPort when going for 3 monitors or more due to DVI and HDMI requiring a separate clock signal for each output. As GCN chips have only two clocks for output, the cards based on them did not support running 3 DVI/HDMI monitors with passive converters. While chips have not changed, AMD now allows a single GPU clock to work for several outputs, but monitors used in such configuration must be identical. Another improvement will come via drivers to HD 7000 series as well – improved support for tiled displays, including 4K.
Overall, the first R7 and R9 graphics cards bring little new, but lower pricing for the same performance is still welcome as it was with Nvidia's GTX 770. Nvidia has already started responding to the new prices with their own reductions to GTX 660 and GTX 650 Ti Boost, however GTX 760 and 770 still stay at the same prices, which do not look good compared to R9 280X price. As far as the choice between HD 7000 and their Rx 2xx analogues goes, the HD 7000 is likely to receive price drop below the price of new cards to clear the stock. Also, AMD's Never Settle Bundle is not available for the new cards, so HD 7000 cards are likely to be better value for the money while they last. Thus the start of another GPU price war is underway and the main question is the performance of R9 290 and R9 290X. It is the time for GTX 780 and GTX Titan to get some competition.